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The Effects of Bicycling on Tremor and Bradykinesia in Patients with Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease

10 August 2013


Background: Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder usually presenting in the later years of life, resulting in tremors, bradykinesia, and difficulties with gait and balance. It affects nearly 1.5 million Americans with treatment costs approaching $25 billion annually. However, these treatments have been known to become less effective over time and may even be associated with adverse side effects. With the progressive nature of the disease and possible decreasing or adverse effects from medications and surgical therapies, it is imperative to identify other methods of improving quality of life in these patients. The purpose of this systematic review is to determine if bicycling shows improvements in tremors and bradykinesia in patients living with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD).

Methods: An exhaustive search of available medical literature was conducted using Medline-OVID, CINAHL, Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews Multifile, Web of Science, Physiotherapy Evidence-Based Database, and Google Scholar using the keywords: Parkinson’s disease, bicycling, neuroplasticity, and tremor. Synonymous terms including cycling, rehabilitation and exercise were also searched to prevent any relevant articles from being overlooked. Articles were limited to English and human studies only. Articles were assessed for quality using GRADE criteria. No articles were excluded based on GRADE criteria.

Results: Three articles met the inclusion and exclusion criteria for the systematic review. One was a randomized control trial, one an observational study, and one a before-after pilot study with crossover. While not all articles showed statistical significance, all three articles demonstrated a positive correlation with bicycling therapy improving tremor and bradykinesia in patients with IPD.

Conclusion: This systematic review demonstrated a positive correlation between bicycling and improvements of gross motor function in patients living with IPD. There were many limitations to the studies available, and future research is warranted to further investigate due to the clinical significance shown.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease, bicycling, cycling, exercise, rehabilitation, neuroplasticity, tremor


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